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Two Alumni Recruiters on Why They Return to Campus

Tim Colter ’14 and Frances Symes ’14 cite the tight-knit community and sense of camaraderie among Yale SOM students as their main motivations to return to campus to offer guidance.

By Kate Botelho, Associate Director of Admissions

Over the last few weeks, Evans has been buzzing—not just with our returning first- and second-year students, but also with alumni in consulting and investment banking who are back on campus to interview first-year students for summer internships.

We reached out to two Yale SOM alumni who can occasionally be found around Evans Hall recruiting our current students, to learn more about the reasons they come back to Yale SOM year after year. Tim Colter ’14, an engagement manager at McKinsey & Company, and Frances Symes ’14, a manager at Deloitte LLP, discussed their experience as students, and now as alumni, and what they believe sets Yale SOM graduates apart in the workforce.

Colter and Symes have a lot in common. They both graduated in 2014 and work for large consulting firms.  They both made a major career pivot at Yale SOM: Colter was a former teacher who was working in the education space, and Symes was a journalist. They also share a motivation for continuing to engage with the Yale SOM community as alumni—to be part of a culture that remains familiar from their time as students. 

Ultimately, Colter and Symes said, they come back to Yale SOM because they are paying it forward. They were connected with engaged alumni who acted as mentors to them as students, and now they get to play that role for current students. It isn’t hard for them to put themselves into the shoes of current students. Symes vividly remembered how scary a career pivot can seem: “I am incredibly grateful to the SOM alums at Deloitte who helped me transition from being a journalist to being a human capital management consultant, so when I joined Deloitte after business school I immediately got involved in recruiting.”

While a career pivot can be daunting, Colter said that achieving your goals becomes much more possible when you have help along the way. “You always need someone to guide you in the right direction—whether that meant getting tough love when I needed it or [having alumni] give me the resources I needed to figure it out on my own,” he said.

Both Colter and Symes said that students display the sense of camaraderie that is part of the unique Yale SOM community. Picking up on that feeling on campus reaffirms Colter’s decision to come to Yale, he said. “There is something special and extraordinary happening; the students really show up for each other. You can feel it when you’re on campus, and it reminds me why I made the right choice to go to Yale.”

That camaraderie fuels Yale SOM students’ collaboration and teamwork skills, Symes said—and that’s part of what sets SOM alumni apart in the consulting field. “SOMers are great team players—great listeners and always willing to go the extra mile to carry a project over the finish line and help and support their teammates.”

The core curriculum also plays a big part in SOM students’ career success, said Colter. “I really believe that the perspectives-based curriculum teaches you to view the world through others’ perspectives. Think about The Customer, The Competitor, The Employee—taking on these perspectives is really powerful when you translate it into your work. Having this multifocal view on how to solve problems is incredibly unique.”